Author Archives: Jack

You never can tell

By all rights tonight’s parkup ought to be awful. The single lane access road bifurcates a public golf course which assures high traffic. After a sharp 90° turn to avoid a beach and the ocean, one finds a pie shaped parkup for maybe four reasonably sized RVs which means lots of people want your space and they’ll do most anything to get there first. It can be quite cutthroat and they’ll probably stay for the sunset. The narrow lane continues with cars haphazardly parallel parked against a stone wall for a quarter mile until several tiny cars could pull straight into a few spaces near the end.

Regardless it’s a lovely spot and somehow we shoehorned EV into a questionable spot to wait for a better one. It’s our superpower. We wait. We have some lunch. We take a stroll. We wait.

We walked out on the beach to a pier to visit some rocks with magnificent Fair Head in the background.

It’s funny that headlands were always good reason for extreme caution when we were sailing past them but now on land we find them quite beautiful, dramatic, and hard to resist.

In the evening while relaxing after dinner I sensed movement in the pie shaped RV section a quarter mile away. We had an Escape Velocity fire drill with Marce hoofing it down the road while I backed EV out and headed towards what we hoped would be an actual RV parking space. We barely made it to the vacated space in time and we may have disappointed a fellow traveler but I must say it made for a relaxed night’s sleep.

The following morning while sipping my first coffee something caught my eye just off the beach.

A square rigged barque hove into view.

You don’t see this everyday and with all sails furled we could see she was headed for the outer harbor. She rounded up into the wind and splashed anchor. Marce looked her up in Marine Traffic and she’s called Thalassa out of Troon, Scotland.

There was some breeze this morning and the swell began to surge in sending the barque into a wicked corkscrewing roll.

Well hidden, tucked deep behind a headland I’m sure she had every expectation of a calm night but it’s amazing how much the swell can wrap around a headland, as much as 30° is not uncommon. Boats have a diabolical predilection toward lying ahull in a sympathetic roll with the swell. It can really get nasty. Those sailors did not have a comfortable night and I’ll bet not many opted for breakfast.

Later we walked into Ballycastle in search of edible eggs Benedict.

What we found was honestly the most perfect cinnamon roll I’ve ever had in a bakery called Ursa Minor. To this day I rue the fact that I only bought two. Pictures? Surely you jest.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Chasing the little red teardrop

Things are not as obvious here in Ireland as Google Maps would have you believe. We crossed a charming one-lane stone bridge looking for today’s parkup and honestly, before I was ready I had to pivot Escape Velocity sharply right at a fish and chip shop onto a tiny alley which was unfortunately blocked by stylishly turned out young women and gents. As they reluctantly sauntered out of the way I couldn’t help but notice that many of the women had the same flowing cocktail dress on. I’m no judge but they seemed to be a little over-dressed for the afternoon and was it possible we were witnessing a remarkably awkward coincidence? Or was it a gaggle of bridemaids out for a smoke break? I vote for smoking bridesmaids.

Suddenly they all disappeared only to return in a remarkably short amount of time, and I’m going to guess here, post ceremony with bride in tow, for a rather longish photo session with three photographers: a young female to do the candids, a middle aged man to doggedly capture the mandatory familial combinations, and the old man with that all-important very long slimming lens who had to set up beside the RVs — including now us — in the parkup to do the top tier portraits. That long lens can only help. When the wedding party was released they hopped into odd looking, incredibly noisy little hot rod econo-boxes.

And with that, sleepy Cunshendun’s entertainment was over for the day. We strolled across the old stone bridge through the picturesque town.

In the morning we decided to take our personal entertainment into our own hands and hike over to the caves rumored to be in the area.

Almost every house in Cunshendun has a window display like this

On the way we ran into Johann, Cunshendun’s grumpy looking bronze memorial to the last of countless goats culled during the terrible outbreak of foot and mouth disease in 2001.

Condolences Johann

It’s true that it wasn’t far but the beach was deep with what I imagine are millions of those rounded golf ball sized stones that are the devil itself to walk on.

Of course several scenes used in The Game of Thrones were shot in these caves, including that creepy shadow birth of Melisandre’s. Yes, it’s on the GoT bus tour.

We came to Cushendun for the nice parkup and the caves were a bonus, but the open road calls Escape Velocity.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Something evil in the stones of man

Marce aced the park-up again. She found a large, free, nearly flat parking lot facing the Lough of Belfast in the middle of downtown Carrickfergus. Not an easy thing to do. The Irish, it seems, insist on their pound of flesh or simply install heavy height barriers that stop us from using many car parks. Not exactly welcoming. We’re not in Scotland anymore but at least several large grocery stores were right across the street and remarkably, tucked away in a corner of the lot, was a French style aire de service, expressly for servicing RVs. They hate us…then they love us.

However there was a disquieting presence that we both felt in this otherwise soft touch. Every so often, actually more than made sense, we would stop and glance up staring all the way across this large lot of parked cars at the hulking dark almost malevolent presence of Carrickfergus Castle. I know it’s supposed to look threatening, which it does very well, but we couldn’t understand why we didn’t feel protected or at least well defended by its over dominant feng shui. Maybe that’s all it is. That evening we decided on a bit of a stretch and inevitably, on our stroll, we were drawn to the dark imposing walls of the castle. You know, it’s a “face your discomfort” kind of thing.

Note to Carrickfergus town council: some cheerful lighting playing on the castle walls at night might be nice. There’s something just not right about this thing. We both decided this would be more fun on a sunny day especially before the crowds descended on us. Against all odds the next morning we got just that.

You’re thinking Jonny Depp but no, it’s King William III commemorating his 1690 landing.

Begun in 1177, surrounded on three sides with rocky walls rising out of the water of the Lough of Belfast, the sturdy Norman style Carrickfergus Castle is indeed imposing.

One buys one’s ticket in the gift shop and you’ll soon find yourself watching a helpful orientation video.

A massive keep dominates the interior space.

Some of the largest caliber guns we’ve seen.

Impressive 5 story keep
Throne room
The great hall on 5th floor
Teacher says, “Oh my days, I’ve never seen a more crooked line!”

Looks like it’s time to go.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Dead drop

We’ve whinged about the difficulties collecting mail without an address, let’s just say, more than once. Today’s story starts as we wend our way down Northern Ireland for a long overdue visit with an old cruising friend who is also functioning as a dead drop for our international driver’s licenses winging their way from America. Now we’ve never been asked to produce our International Driver’s Permits for anything, ever, and the powers that be couldn’t have made it anymore difficult but, like a lot of things, the conventional wisdom says, “Don’t leave home without it.” We dutifully mailed the forms and photos to Marce’s sister, our other dead drop, who valiantly wrangled the IDPs from AAA and entrusted USPS and RM to get them to DD II in NI. The system worked.

Marce found a convenient park-up at a lough on the way down, disappointingly sloped but free, and with toilets. With EV up on ramps, we will abide.

In addition to the view, not far away we saw a small castle on an island with causeway access. A nice way to stretch one’s legs.

We even found a path that circumnavigated this charming island.

There is always something special about an island.

The following day by mid afternoon we pulled into a suspiciously rough looking farmhouse that Google insisted was the address where our friend Alan lives. Of course we hadn’t a clue of the name of the family he lives with but I can attest that this didn’t smell like what we expected. While I worked on the geometry of extricating EV from this tiny courtyard, Marce hopped out to try and find Alan. I got the bus turned around then went looking for Marce. I found her approaching the Royal Mail van just as it pulled in.

Marce was asking, “Does Alan Pridham live here?”

“Oh no, he lives at the top of the hill,” he said, and he pointed further up the road.

And before you know it we were in the kind of freewheeling conversation we’ve come to expect here in Northern Ireland. Marce told him we met Alan ten years ago while we were traveling by sailboat, and he knew all about Alan’s sailing adventures. We probably stood outside the stranger’s farm for 20 minutes before we got more detailed directions to the right house. Not only that, but the postman also told us that Alan was home.

Bear in mind that we could understand only about 10% of what he said. It went something like “just go up past those curious brown cows that’ll be wonderin’ what you’re all about in a contraption like that. Don’t pull into the modern house with the new macadam driveway. You’ll be wantin’ the two old white gate posts with trees all about.” Maybe.

We were past it before we realized that it was meant to be those old white gate posts but it was just as well because we’d have never shoehorned EV between the posts going up hill. Luckily there were no cars on the road but entry was a matter of millimeters.

It’s a quiet place and oh so lush and peaceful inside those walls. This must be the place but there was no one about and it wasn’t clear which door to approach. Suddenly Alan popped out of the lush vegetation as if to say, “Dr. Livingston I presume.” It has been a very long time yet almost like yesterday.

We met Alan at the very beginning of our sailing journey. He had just crossed the Atlantic single-handed in his boat Snow White and we spent months sailing in company along the US East Coast before parting ways when we sailed to the Caribbean.

Alan corrupting us with Buffalo grass vodka, aboard EV, July, 2012.

We entered the home and met the absolutely charming family that Alan’s been living with for years. They welcomed us warmly, offered showers and laundry, a place to park overnight and invited us to dinner. It’s easy to see why it works so well when the whole crew got together for a wonderful barbecue.

I guess we’re still on sailors’ hours because we wandered back to EV early, tired beyond any explanation.

The following morning in alternating sunshine and rain Alan took us on a tour of the family’s ancestral estate where they all lived until 2013 when it was nearly destroyed by fire.

The estate has a long and storied past and if you’re interested you can read more about it here and here. It’s the stuff of fantasy, the kind you only read about . The sense of loss is palpable when you’re surrounded by the devastation. The feeling of what it must have been like and now its loss is hard to take.

We were invited to stay longer or park ourselves on the grounds of the old estate but we Escapees recognize a velvet trap when we see it. For now the open road calls and every traveler faces the same dilemma: wonderful friends and conversation vs. the next horizon. Sometimes it’s harder to leave than others.

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Big dreams

River Lagan, Belfast

I’m not sure what I expected of Belfast. Any city with titanic ambitions you would naturally assume to be of olympic size. Belfast is not that. Don’t get me wrong, Belfast was always a go-getter when it came to things nautical. Major rope walks, massive linen industry and woodworking grew with its ship building dreams, but it is by no means titanic in size.

I have to be honest that when RV friends said they were going to something called the Titanic Experience I was a little dubious. Let’s just say there are no surprises in this “experience.” I mean, the ship sinks in an almost bizarre collection of human faux pas, killing most aboard. Nice that the band played on but really wouldn’t the short time left be better spent looking for something that floats? Anyway, we never go to anything that bills itself as an “experience.”

Marce was striking out at digging up long dead relatives at wherever she disappears to, so when it was suggested that we get experienced, always the team player, I acquiesced. Of course experience never comes cheap and this will be no exception. A cold but short walk later found us entering a modern building built in the shape of the White Star line logo, directly over the bones of the Harland and Wolff shipyard.

At least they didn’t insist that you enter via the gift shop.

Along with pricey admission we opted for the value added optional audio tour. A short walk on the second floor was like a dive into a rabbit hole Time Machine, emerging in early Belfast’s bustling past with old photos and film. It was well done and showed a skillset made to order for ship building. White Star was in competition with the Cunard Line for the biggest, fastest, most luxurious ships afloat. These ships were the Space X of the turn of the 20th century.

Things got fascinating in the drafting offices with thousands of engineers.

Before long we found ourselves in a line, waiting for what, we hadn’t a clue. Turns out it was a remarkably compact monorail fun ride that scissors your car up or down showing what it was like building the world’s largest ship.

It’s impossible not to be impressed with the massive size of these two vessels being built side by side, staked out in the slips where they were built. Titanic was in #3 to the left and Olympic to the right.

Next was the chilling timeline of the actual sinking and the dunderheaded foolish mistakes that were made that night. A great number of changes were instituted to safety regulations due to this tragic night. In fact SOLAS (Safety Of Life At Sea) regulations were adopted after the investigation. Next came the butchers bill.

This huge hanging Titanic model is used as a scrim for highlighting various parts of the ship.

There are artifacts from the Titanic in glass cases, including the famous violin found floating in the North Atlantic

in this last section, standing on these glass panels, underwater footage of the final resting place of the Titanic slowly passes beneath your feet as though you’re sailing over the wreck. Chilling.

Turns out we really did have a Titanic experience and we didn’t even get wet.


Filed under Uncategorized

Hide the silver, Escapees spotted in Ireland!

No one is ever 100% ready to embark on a sea journey. If our boat had any kind of a mechanical issue the first thing we’d always ask is, “Will it keep us from sailing?” The next question is, “How much will it cost and how long will it take?”

We have two irritating problems in our campervan that have followed us to Stranraer, Scotland, after chasing a tiny refrigeration temperature controller all the way to Carlisle, England, and back. We hung around in Dumfries for five days unaware that the Royal Post had refused delivery of our package even though they assured us to just have it sent to them to be held for pickup. Luckily the shipper called us to say the post office refused delivery and asked, “Do you want this thing?” I suggested cutting the Royal Post out of the equation and we drove to the depot to pick up our tiny package. It’s a small country.

The back story of the refrigerator temperature control is that even on its lowest setting everything stays extremely over chilled, but it seems to run continuously. We’re hoping to lower our very expensive LPG habit. There are no discernible leaks but we go through more than our share of gas. Time will tell if the new thermistor works.

Information about LPG fittings and accessibility in Ireland is scarce at best so we considered switching to a refillable system rather than a bottle exchange swap, which will have to be done before we travel to Europe, regardless. These details will be sorted on the fly as usual.

It’s time to shepherd Escape Velocity through our first MOT, the annual safety inspection. When and where is the question and until the refrigerator controller was sorted we weren’t sure where or when that might be best done. After a half dozen attempts to find an MOT service that wanted to or had the time to fit us in, or had a high enough garage door clearance or a low enough inspection pit, we found one in Stranraer, right near Cairnryan which is where our ferry departs from to the port of Larne, Northern Ireland. Escape Velocity passed the MOT so she’s good to go for another year. Sometimes the stars align.

We’re old hands at this ferry deal by now but this one had a new twist that had us creeping up an incredibly steep ramp to the second parking level in the ferry.

These things are remarkably capacious but still things can get a little cozy.

Goodbye Scotland

Bear in mind that we still haven’t a clue if we can get LPG into our van in Ireland.

We’re off without drama and as we pop out of the ferry, and like a line of circus elephants we slowly lumber down a steep ramp in Chaine Harbor.

Honestly I haven’t been drinking, the van ahead just stepped on his brake pedal!

Things tend to happen quickly at this moment but Marce navigated us to a hilltop overnight parkup with a view of the harbor and the Irish Sea.

Chaine Tower can be seen in the center of photo.

We found a strange little grassy knoll on top of our eagle’s nest parkup surrounded with what can only be described as a fancy spiked ceremonial fence. Turns out it is a burial mound where Larne’s great benefactor, Mr. Chaine, is buried standing upright in his Full Monty yachting regalia.

Once again we find ourselves lollygagging, hanging around a new area waiting for packages to catchup to us here in Ireland. Now the plan is to shuffle our way towards Belfast using a Covid-inspired Amazon pickup point, cleverly circumventing the Royal Post. We’ll let you know.

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Return to the castle in the clouds

It is an overcast and windy morning. I am back in Escape Velocity’s writers’ office, lost in quiet contemplation, attempting to describe for you thrillseekers how wonderful the experience of wandering through Stirling Castle was. So far I had, “It was a sunny day.” That’s when Marce said, “Holy sh*t it looks like Dumbarton Castle opened early!”

Now, Dear Escapees, we were nowhere near Dumbarton so we put £100 worth of BP’s finest in the tank and a few hours later we were backing into our familiar friendly parking spot in the tiny lot right under the Castle in the Clouds.

It’s our fourth visit and with excellent Bangin’ Pizza just two blocks away, why not? Tomorrow’s weather looks good but today’s is a nasty tempest and not at all conducive for a spot of mountaineering.

The morning dawned sunny and calm with a new EV record for early having already had, or in other words, fired up and ready to go. Just being able to walk through the outer gates for the first time was surprisingly thrilling but with 547 steps to go the order of the day is slow and steady.

Evidence of major rock wall stabilization is obvious as we start to climb the stairs. It’s another magical castle teetering on the top of another volcanic basalt plug. How do they do this?

Guardhouse and stairs

Everything is functional and designed for defense but still integrated into the extreme topography. I wasn’t prepared for how beautiful the grounds and setting are.

Guardhouse view of the River Clyde

You might wonder, how could anyone successfully attack this stronghold whose basalt walls rise vertically out of the swirling waters of the Clyde river? In 870 two Viking kings, Olaf the White, and Ivar the Boneless, with over 200 longboats, did just that. After a four month siege, and cutting off the water supply, things definitely got ugly in Dumbarton.

The Picts apparently took over for a couple of days, and notably in 1425 James the Fat tried but failed. Later medieval history seems to suggest that Dumbarton Castle was under near constant siege and squabbles. Even James IV, with the aid of the monster Mons Meg, the A-bomb of medieval times, subdued the castle. I can’t vouch for any of this but everyone agrees that Mary Queen of Scots definitely left for France from Dumbarton Castle.

White tower left, the Beak right
Stewart’s Tower
Prince Regents Battery
The French prison
Yes that’s Escape Velocity from the lookout you see in the beginning photo
The armory
Stairs to the white tower
Moment of truth for height averse Marce

It seemed prudent to stop in at the castle’s tiny museum to allow our quivering legs to settle down and it turns out they have great examples of carvings found in the terraced garden at the beginning of the stairs.

We’ve wanted to see this castle for a long time and you worry that it might disappoint but it turns out it’s even better than we could have imagined. The pizza’s still great too.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

When in Stirling

I was having a softly streaming sunny morning, kicked back, waiting for the day’s first cuppa to reach my frigid toes. It’s a cold April in Scotland.

There will be no taxi subterfuge on this one dear Escapees. The mountain does not come to Escape Velocity, we will climb to it. First, one has to navigate the modern municipal flats of Stirling, crossing over the railway tracks on a footbridge into the hills of old town Stirling.

It’s nothing but up from there. Unrelenting, steep hauling of one’s caboose up the mountain to Stirling Castle.

When I stopped to take a photo of an interesting building at what I hoped was at least halfway up, a local gentleman said, “That house is the oldest in Stirling.”

He added, “Do you know about the shortcut up the hill?” Of course we didn’t but I’m always up for a shortcut. What followed was five minutes of charming thick Scottish brogue, most of which I couldn’t understand but he seemed pleased so we gathered that we were to make a left then immediately jog right at the old pub that isn’t there anymore. What could go wrong?

Following the Escape Velocity paradigm we found ourselves on a walkway heading straight up the mountain. These people are made of stronger stuff.

The rest breaks were becoming so frequent that I wasn’t sure if we were spending more time climbing or resting. The merciless walkway suddenly ended at a two lane macadam road which seemed significant but left us without a clue as to where we might find a castle. Turns out a long staircase was hidden behind a copse of trees. Our shaky legs probably made the stairs seem longer than it ought, but we reached the arrival lot with just a handful of adventure seekers taking snaps of the view.

What a contrast to over-crowded Edinburgh. Still climbing toward the castle gates we could see the beginnings of ramparts when we came upon this familiar chap.

King Robert the Bruce

Have they ever seen a volcanic plug that they haven’t built a castle on? How fortunate that this one is near the lowest downstream ford of the Forth River.

The palace is covered in royal gold colored plaster.

Started in the late 11th century the castle has been the home of royalty and had more than 8 major sieges.

The Great Hall

After our tour of the castle we think our local man in the know suggested we take the long circuitous way back down to see the historical sights missed while trekking up the shortcut. Sounds good to me.

It was a spent duo of escapees that staggered back to the van, tired but happy.

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Facing the music

The United Kingdom is quite serious about diesel pollution. They are clamping down on population centers like London and, of immediate concern, Edinburgh. Escape Velocity is a 2009 Fiat Ducato-based chassis with a relatively clean burning class 4 diesel engine which, it turns out, precludes us entering many populated cities. It takes a minimum of a class 6 or better to get into Edinburgh proper but as luck would have it, we just found out the draconian exclusion hasn’t started yet. As a further hassle the more you travel south in the UK the fewer park-ups can be found, especially near cities, but we have a secret weapon, Marce the bloodhound. We decided to face the music and dance.

We rarely use a campground. All we need is a lot to park in and transportation into our city of interest. She found all of that for £2 a night at a park-and-ride, just two train stops outside of Edinburgh. No clue if that will be within the exclusion zone when they do in fact clamp down and we’ve been led to believe that the maps and signage are less than perfect elsewhere and it’s easy to inadvertently wander into an exclusion zone with a hefty ticket featuring a photo of your vehicle showing up in your morning Royal Mail. This country is blanketed with CCTV cameras and there are no less than 12 in our park-and-ride lot.

The ride part of the park is adjacent to our lot so it would be hard to be more convenient and it’s a cold but sunny day so we’re off to see Edinburgh. Train tickets are purchased online and within minutes we were disgorged at Edinburgh’s massive bewildering train station in the center of town. Ramping up to street level the first thing we saw was this.

It’s a memorial to Sir Walter Scott and for £8 pounds they’ll let you climb the 287 steps to the top. It’s that kind of town but as a consolation prize members of Historic Scotland get into Edinburgh Castle for free. Care to make a guess what we’re doing?

The Scots had every reason to be paranoid, what with nearly every castle changing hands typically about every ten years or so, but if there was a huge bulging volcanic plug in the vicinity they built a castle on it, which you’ve got to think ought to help with the defense of the place. Consequently you can imagine that to see Edinburgh Castle you’re going to have a wee climb. Sure enough, at the end of the bridge over the station you turn to the right and immediately start to climb. It does nothing but get steeper from there.

A short pause to replace what little oxygen I have left for the climb.

It takes a while but eventually you start to get a peek-a-boo view of the beginnings of the castle as the charming, but steep, street turns into castle instead of street buildings.

Of course, on your approach you have to negotiate a large, let’s agree to call it an arrival area filled with thrill seekers, photographers, YouTubers, fashion posers, ticket buyers, and at least two castle buffs in the mood for ice cream, balloons, and children crying over dropped ice cream cones.

We haven’t faced this much chaos since Kathmandu.

Heading through the ancient gates by necessity, it’s slightly less crowded.

Kitted-out with audio tour headphones we started climbing again.

I can’t remember ever being in a place so grand.

Correct to a T, even the paving blocks are perfectly laid.

The views are magnificent, all the better to see those trying to sneak up on you.

Mons Meg, smasher of great walls
The crush of tourists waiting for the one o’clock cannon.

We decided to walk back down into town via the Royal Mile, dodging the crowds and pipe blowing buskers, to share a pint with our friend at a very fancy old pub on Princes street.

Apple pay, credit cards, cash, it’s all good

It took a while, mostly due to whimsical signage, to find the correct track to get back to our parking lot but find it we did.


Filed under Uncategorized

It’s Complicated

We’re really excited about our adventure to Perge, which is where all those shiny-pants museum statuary came from. We’ve been researching Antalya’s flash new tram system and with the help of a kind woman who watched our frustrations trying to decipher the transit card vending machine and stepped up to help us, we purchased our very own plastic card which can be used by both of us. I guess they figure you’re going to share anyhow so what the hell.

The next test is guessing how much lira to put on the card. Turns out the A tram line goes out to Perge and has a spur line B to the airport. How close it comes is anyone’s guess, but I was able to find a tram stop about twenty minutes from our guesthouse, most of it up a steep winding road through the old town. Everything went smoothly, and I mean the tram just glides along like it has nothing to do with the hard steel rails underneath. Clean, modern, and comfortable, the only stress was remembering where to get off because Perge is nowhere to be seen on the monitor.

After about an hour Marce suddenly said, “This is it.” The tram was elevated at this point but there was very little to see, kind of a dusty burbs vibe. We followed everyone else down the very long concrete staircase to the ground, and did the Escape Velocity wander-around-and-guess-which-direction-to-walk trick. I was under the impression there would be a taxi at this juncture but the taxi drivers figured they have us at a disadvantage and in Turkey you never want that scenario. I guess we showed them.

Thirty-five minutes later, dusty, hot, and exhausted we wandered into the Perge gift shop. One bottle of cold coke and one bottle of cold water and we were off toward what the sign said, “This way to the ruins.”

First thing we saw were two colossal round towers, probably part of Perge’s main gate. It’s meant to be intimidating, and they are definitely humbling. Just beyond the gate is an amazing forest of one-piece marble columns.

This is a huge city. There’s a very large market square surrounded by dozens of buildings, homes or warehouses. You be the judge. We would have appreciated a guide of some sort, an app, an audio tour maybe, at the very least a brochure with a map. Marce asked at the ticket booth but they have nothing. There are a few signs but we were mostly on our own.

After the market bit, you’d have to call this a boulevard, over a mile long with water running down the center canal, bridges over the stream and one piece marble columns as far as the eye can see.

I was compelled to see everything that I could and that meant reaching the end.

After about a mile the main boulevard forms an intersection continuing straight into the hills.

The intersecting road to the right quickly deteriorated into rubble, however the left wing was really interesting.

Complete mosaic floor

It eventually ends in a massive pile of stone blocks.

It must have been an impressive building judging by the sheer size of the pile of stone blocks at the end of the street.

We still haven’t seen inside the incredible theater that gave up a lot of sculptures to the museum but that will involve retracing our steps down the “miracle mile,” back through the market square, main gate, and gift shop, not to mention the parking lot and out the long driveway to carefully cross the highway. It was worth it.

No one else was in the theater which seats over 12,000 with a 3-story stage more than 52 meters long which easily enhances the moody, spooky feel of the place.

It boggles the mind when you consider who might have sat in the hard stone seat that you’re sitting on.

Marce insists her fear of heights is not irrational!

It’s easy to tell where the sculptures were but access to the backstage area is blocked off due to an unstable structure. This is the kind of place you have to tear yourself away from just to leave. Golden, late afternoon sun was angling down into the theater reminding us that we are far from home and we still have a bit of a hike to do.

Exploring the stadium will have to wait for another time. We’ve got a tram to catch.


Filed under Uncategorized